Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Europe's muslims

Interesting editorial in yesterday's issue of the Washington Post about the failure of european countries to integrate their muslim minorities:

Europe's Muslims

A year after the French riots, their alienation is growing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006; Page A16

AYEAR AGO this week, riots erupted in mostly Muslim suburbs of Paris and other French cities, underlining the alienation of a subculture that makes up 8 percent of the country's population but has suffered from chronic unemployment and discrimination. One year later, that alienation -- and the threat of violence that comes with it -- appears to have worsened, not only in France but across Western Europe. French police are facing what some call a "permanent intifada" in Muslim neighborhoods, with nearly 2,500 incidents of violence against officers recorded in the first six months of the year. Some of these now take the form of planned ambushes: On Sunday a gang of youths emptied a bus of its passengers, set it on fire, and then stoned the firefighters who responded.

In Britain, the London bombings of 2005, which were executed in part by native-born Muslims, have been succeeded by this summer's arrest of another group of native extremists who allegedly plotted to blow up airliners. Two Lebanese residents of Germany were accused of trying to bomb passenger trains. The threat of violence by Muslims angered by perceived insults, whether from the German-born pope or the director of a Mozart opera, has become more frequent.

Europeans are slowly growing more aware that a major part of the global struggle against Islamic extremism must take place in their own countries -- and not just in faraway Afghanistan or Iraq. But their governments, media and political elites still appear to be a long way from coming to grips with the challenge. Rather than seeking to address the larger alienation of mainstream Muslims, European leaders often appear to do the opposite -- by challenging the culture of Muslims and defending gratuitous insults of Islam.

One recent but hardly isolated example came from Britain's House of Commons leader, Jack Straw, who criticized Muslim women for wearing veils and said he asked those who visited his office to remove them, on the grounds that they impede "communication." It's hard to believe that veils are the biggest obstacle to communication between British politicians and the country's Muslims; and it's even harder to imagine Mr. Straw raising similar objections about Sikh turbans or Orthodox Jewish dress. True, the Labor Party MP was reflecting -- or maybe pandering to -- the concern of many in Britain about the self-segregation of some Muslims. But veils -- which are also under government attack in France and Italy -- are not the cause of that segregation, much less of terrorism. Attacks on Muslim custom by public officials are more likely to reinforce than to ease the community's alienation.

Mr. Straw and other European politicians could contribute far more to combating radical Islam if they focused on those who actually foment intolerance among European Muslims -- as well as those in the mainstream community who promote prejudice against Arabs and South Asians and their descendants. Muslims in Europe should be invited to embrace the countries where they live on their own terms. They should be expected to respect laws and freedoms. But politicians would do better to work on dismantling the barriers Muslims face in getting educations and jobs rather than those that distinguish Islam from the secular majority.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Le monde a l'envers

Il y a quelque temps, un ami a moi qui observait les tendances sectariennes anti-chiites d'intellectuels arabes lors de debats au sujet de la guerre en Iraq sur certaines chaines de television satellitaires arabes (ou ces intellectuels soit-disant "eclaires" n'avaient d'autre souci que d'essayer de discrediter la majorite chiite gouvernant l'Iraq de l'apres-Saddam comme etant servile aux Ayatollahs iraniens), avait predit qu'un jour viendra ou les leaders arabes se mettront a genoux pour demander a Israel de les proteger de l'Iran. A vrai dire, je n'avais jamais pense qu'un tel jour viendrait aussi vite:

أفادت صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت أن رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي إيهود أولمرت التقى خلال الأسابيع القليلة الماضية مسؤولين سعوديين كبارا في القصر الملكي الأردني في عمان، في لقاء نظمه كل من العاهل الأردني عبد الله الثاني ورئيس جهاز الاستخبارات الإسرائيلي (الموساد) مائير داغان.

وأوضحت الصحيفة أن أولمرت نقل في مروحية إلى العاصمة الأردنية ليلا برفقة مدير مكتبه يورام توربوفتيش والملحق العسكري الجنرال غادي شامني. وقالت إن الاجتماع الذي استغرق عدة ساعات تناول الأخطار الناجمة عن محاولة إيران امتلاك سلاح نووي وانتشار "الإرهاب الشيعي" في المنطقة

Joyeux ramadan a tout le monde...

Monday, September 04, 2006

About the iranian president

Is the president of Iran really the radical islamist hate-monger who wants to "wipe Israel off the map", as he is often portrayed in western media these days ? Click here to find out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jewish rabbi against zionism

Interesting interview of a jewish rabbi who calls for the dismantlement of the state of Israel. Watch the clip here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Jonathan Cook found himself with the "Islamic Fascists"

Very touching article by Jonathan Cook...

"As we approach the fifth official anniversary of the "war on terror", the foiled UK "terror plot" has neatly provided George W Bush, the "leader of the free world", with a chance to remind us of our fight against the "Islamic fascists". But what if the war on terror is not really about separating the good guys from the bad guys, but about deciding what a good guy can be allowed to say and think?

What if the "Islamic fascism" President Bush warns us of is not just the terrorism associated with Osama bin Laden and his elusive al-Qaeda network but a set of views that many Arabs, Muslims and Pakistanis -- even the odd humanist -- consider normal, even enlightened? What if the war on "Islamic fascism" is less about fighting terrorism and more about silencing those who dissent from the West's endless wars against the Middle East?

At some point, I suspect, I joined the Islamic fascists without my even noticing. Were my name different, my skin colour different, my religion different, I might feel a lot more threatened by that realisation.

How would Homeland Security judge me if I stepped off a plane in the US tomorrow and told officials not only that I am appalled by the humanitarian crises in Lebanon and Gaza but also that I do not believe the war on terror should be directed against either the Lebanese or the Palestinians? How would they respond if, further, I described as nonsense the idea that Hizbullah or the political leaders of Hamas are "terrorists"?

I have my reasons, good ones I think, but would anyone take them seriously? What would the officials make of my argument that, before Israel's war on Lebanon, no one could point to a single terrorist incident Hizbullah had been responsible for in at least a decade? Would the authorities appreciate my comment that a terrorist organisation that doesn't do terrorism is a chimera, a figment of the President's imagination?

Equally, what would they make of my belief that Hizbullah does not want to wipe Israel off the map? Would they find me convincing if I told them that Israel, not Hizbulalh, is the aggressor in the conflict: that following Israel's supposed withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, Lebanon experienced barely a day of peace from the terrifying sonic booms of Israeli war planes violating the country's airspace?

Would they understand as I explained that Hizbullah had acted with restraint for those six years, stockpiling its weapons for the day it knew was coming, when Israel would no longer be satisfied with overflights and its appetite for conquest and subjugation would return? Would the officials doubt their own assumptions as I told them that during this war Hizbullah's rockets have been a response to Israeli provocations, that they are fired in return for Israel's devastating and indiscriminate bombardment of Lebanon?

And what would they say if I claimed that this war is not really about Lebanon, or even Hizbullah, but part of a wider US and Israeli campaign to isolate and pre-emptively attack Iran?

Thank God, my skin is fair, my name is unmistakenly English, and I know how to spell the word "atheist". Chances are when Homeland Security comes looking for suspects, no one will search for me or be interested -- not yet, at least -- in my views on Hassan Nasrallah or the democratic election of a Hamas government for the Palestinians.

My friends in Nazareth, and those Pakistani neighbours I never knew in High Wycombe, are less fortunate. They must keep their views hidden and swallow their anger as they see (because their media, unlike ours, show the reality) what US-made weapons fired by American and Israeli soldiers can do to the fragile human body, how quickly skin burns in an explosion, how easily a child's skull is crushed under rubble, how fast the body drains of blood from a severed limb."

To read the whole article, click here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

George Galloway on the war in Lebanon

If you haven't already seen the interview of George Galloway on Sky News about the Lebanon war, you definitely should immediately do so. You can either try this link, or, better still, this one. Here is someone who is not a racist, and who has the courage and moral integrity to stand up for justice and for truth:

"You don't give a damn! You don't even know about the Palestinian families! You don't even know that they exist! Tell me the name of one member of the seven members of the same family swatted on the beach in Gaza by an Israeli warship! You don't even know their name, but you know the name of every Israeli soldier who've been taken prisoner in this conflict because you believe whether you know it or not that Israeli blood is more valuable than that the blood of Lebanese or Palestinian! That's the truth! And the discerning of your viewers already know it!"